Feds may target Google’s Chrome browser for breakup

Justice Department and state prosecutors investigating Google for alleged antitrust violations are considering whether to force the company to sell its dominant Chrome browser and parts of its lucrative advertising business, three people with knowledge of the discussions said Friday.

The conversations — amid preparations for an antitrust legal battle that DOJ is expected to begin in the coming weeks — could pave the way for the first court-ordered break-up of a U.S. company in decades. The forced sales would also represent major setbacks for Google, which uses its control of the world’s most popular web browser to aid the search engine that is the key to its fortunes.

Discussions about how to resolve Google’s control over the $162.3 billion global market for digital advertising remain ongoing, and no final decisions have been made, the people cautioned, speaking anonymously to discuss confidential discussions. But prosecutors have asked advertising technology experts,

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Google Shared Search Data With Feds Investigating R. Kelly Victim Intimidation Case

Topline

Google disclosed the IP addresses of anyone who searched for an arson victim’s address to the federal agents, which investigators used to pinpoint the device used by the alleged perpetrator, according to court documents unsealed earlier in the week, highlighting another instance of Google submitting to a so-called “keyword warrant.”

Key Facts

Federal investigators used the data shared by Google to link Michael Williams— an associate of musician and accused sex offender R. Kelly —  who allegedly set fire to the car belonging to a witness in the Kelly case, according to snippets of the court filings shared by Detroit News reporter Robert Snell.

“Keyword warrants” are a type of reverse search warrant in which law enforcement seeks data regarding all individuals

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With the Feds circling, Google is starting to play nice with smaller rivals

By Paresh Dave and Sheila Dang

(Reuters) – Small rivals of Alphabet Inc’s Google say signs are emerging of more benevolent behavior from the online advertising leader amid accusations by the U.S. government and states that the company uses its dominance to thwart competition.

Among the dozens of software companies who rely on Google as an intermediary to ad buyers and sellers, six told Reuters that the company has become more collaborative on data privacy and other changes with them and industry groups, helping these entities instead of ignoring requests as they have done in the past.

John Nardone, chief executive of Flashtalking – which works with advertisers to personalize messages – said Google recently agreed to open a pipeline to crucial data.

It was an undertaking “that previously I might not have imagined they’d be open to,” said Nardone, who publicly criticized Google’s rigidity last year.

Two other companies

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